The Kid Zone
In 1997 more than 64,000 children, ages 14 and under, were treated in hospital emergency rooms for trampoline-related injuries; one of these children was the friend of the Publicover family. "A dear friend's daughter fell off our backyard trampoline and appeared to be seriously injured," says Mark Publicover of Saratoga, Calif. "She recovered completely in a few days, but the next time the children began playing on our trampoline, it was surrounded by our first safety enclosure."
Mark designed and created JumpCourt -the first of its kind. "In 1997 there were zero retail outlets selling trampoline safety enclosures," he says. "Today more than 7,000 outlets stock them." The patent on the JumpCourt issued in late April-just three years after Mark set up the first one in his own backyard. Designed to eliminate injuries associated with falling off trampolines, the JumpCourt is engineered to catch jumpers and direct them back toward the center of the trampoline. It easily attaches to virtually all standard 10' to 14' round trampolines and offers 360 degrees of protection.
When Mark decided to develop this safety product, he owned his own construction business. "I'd had lots of ideas over the years but didn't act on them until our three children were in school," he says. "I knew developing a product would be very time intensive and it is. My wife Valerie has been my partner through the whole process. When we started, we consulted with Larry Udell of the California Invention Center. Larry was impressed with the team we had created and my business experience and the fact that we were well funded so he suggested we do it ourselves instead of trying to license it to a company." One of the first things Mark did was approach retailers. "They weren't interested at all," he says, "so we had to build the market for it." They decided to sell direct to the consumer and took out a full page ad in the Disney magazine. "Our phones rang off the hook," Mark laughs. "For two solid weeks all we did was answer the phone and take orders. Then people starting asking for it at retail outlets. Suddenly, the buyers who wouldn't return our phone calls were calling us to place orders." More than 50,000 JumpCourts have been sold; every day 800 trampoline safety enclosures are sold. In three years a totally new product has entered the retail market and, with it, a band of infringers. "Every other product on the market is infringing our patent," says Mark who will take on the infringers with the same determination he used to get a new product to market in record time.
To get your own JumpCourt check out the company's web
site: www.jumpsport.com. East Coast customers can also
find some products at BJ's Wholesale.